'Fish ladder needed to help river's salmon and trout'
PUBLISHED: 12:26 18 October 2015
Residents have called for a fish ladder to help with the migration of salmon and trout swimming up the River Sid - but such a project could carry a six-figure cost.
David Benfield launched a discussion on Facebook when he took a photograph of what he believes to be a salmon struggling to jump up the eight-foot weir in The Byes. The picture was ‘liked’ more than 175 times.
Temple Street resident David said: “I want people to talk about it and to discuss it. I want people to be aware of what is going on because it happens in rivers across the world. I would really like a salmon run, that would be ideal, but they can cost up to £100,000.
“If there are enough people interested there could be fundraising, but that is a long way down the line. I just want to be able to help the fish and the environment.”
David’s father, Philip Weaver, said the migrating fish have a right to get up the river to continue reproducing.
Mr Weaver said: “At the end of the day it is a salmon and trout river. It was man who put in that block as a defence without thinking if the migratory fish would be able to carry on. It is a migratory river and the fish should have the right to get up it.”
An Environment Agency (EA) spokesman said it was aware of the issue and that it works with the Sid Vale Association (SVA). Workers visited the area on Saturday to net and manually move the fish.
An EA spokesman said: “We do attempt to ease the problem by manually assisting with salmon and sea trout migration to spawning areas at this critical time of year, alongside the SVA.
“Netting of the weir pool three or four times each year between October and December catches both salmon and sea trout, which we can then release upstream of the eight-foot-high weir where they can continue their amazing journey.”
A fish ladder costing £250,000 was installed on the River Otter in Tipton St John in 2013.
Alan Darrant, SVA chairman, said: “It is sad to see the salmon needing help. They have got up the weir by the ford and it would be nice to be able to enable them to do what they want - which is get up to the top of the river and spawn.”
Sidmouth Town Council clerk Christopher Holland said members would look into the matter once they had received information from Devon County Council and the Environmental Agency.